Archive | February, 2010

What I’ve Eaten Today (So Far).

26 Feb

Hello,

stuff that I’ve eaten today: mostly unhealthy! But whatever, right? Some days just are like that.

Brekkie: oatmeal with banana and maple syrup.

Snack: banana and soft candy (uh uh).

Lunch: fried eggs on toast.

Snack: hot cocoa.

That’s it. Hmmmm…. I guess I should aim for more variety, less carbs, and less sugar! Dinner, however, will be lentil soup with carrots and broccoli, and green salad. So there.

Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend, everybody!!!
xoxo, F.

Donna, and Mark, and Jamie (and Me).

20 Feb

Good evening,

today’s recipe is what we had for dinner tonight: leg of lamb with baked potatoes and carrots.

Cooking this was rather stressful, although, in hindsight, it really was no big deal at all and just me who was, for some reason, totally nervous about it. I had planned on making Donna Hay’s morocan lamb with potatoes and carrots (from No Time to Cook); however, I bought the wrong piece of meat. The thing is: I was a strict vegetarian until about a year ago, and I haven’t been cooking meat myself at all until a couple of months ago, when my doctor advised me to eat more dark meat in order to raise my iron count. So I don’t know anything about meat, okay? Or about cooking it correctly. But I’m trying to make a meat dish once a week. So anyways, I brought home this huge piece of leg of lamb from the butcher, and then realized that Donna wanted me to buy a) lamb filet and b) about half (weightwise) of what the butcher dude hat sold me. Darn! So I consulted Mark Bittman and Jamie Oliver (i.e. How to Cook Everything and Jamie’s Kitchen), and so the dinner I made tonight is a combination of how they told me leg of lamb is supposed to be made, Donna Hay’s veggie suggestion, and my own making.

I really wouldn’t know how to write this down in recipe form, so I’ll just let you know what I did, okay? Here we go.

The piece of meat we had weighed about 1 1/2 pounds. I held it under cold running water very shortly, dried it with a paper towel and placed it in a dutch oven. Then, roughly according to Donna, I made a marinade:
two tablespoons each of olive oil and lemon juice
two teaspoons each of ground paprika and ground coriander
one teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
two minced garlic cloves
two tablespoons lemon zest
All of these I combined and pureed (more or less) with a hand blender, and then covered the lamb with the marinade from all sides and let it sit for about 20 mins.
I preheated the oven to 425° F.
Then I carefully washed 4 potatoes and quartered them, and peeled 4 carrots and halved them.
I put the lamb into the oven and let it bake for 30 mins. (without a lid). Then I turned down the heat to 400° F., added the veggies to the dutch oven (under the meat and on the sides), added five unpeeled garlic cloves, drizzled everything with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons), put the lid on, and let the whole mess bake for another 40 mins.
After that, I took the lid off to check on my precious dinner, and it looked really good. However, when I cut into the meat it still seemed pretty raw to me. I guess this is a matter of taste; I know that lamb is usually eaten rare, but I wouldn’t want it that way, it’s just not my thing. And since the veggies were still kind of hard as well, I decided to give them all another 30 mins.
And then we finally ate, and it was good. However, two things: I think I would have liked it better had it been seasoned more strongly; were I to make this again, I would make the marinade stronger. And: I would be more careful not to add too much olive oil with the veggies, no more than one tablespoon I guess; there was quite an oily mess at the bottom of the dutch oven, and I suspect that the oil sucked in much of the flavor (is that possible?). On the whole, however, it was good, and I was relieved, and I just need to practise my meat cooking, because I basically sat in front of the oven for 90 mins. and watched my dinner cooking because I was so afraid it would burn or whatever, which wasn’t fun.

Allright, then. Have a fun weekend!
xoxo, F.

Whole Wheat Yeast Bread: Addendum

16 Feb

Hello!

Concerning the bread (see below): what I forgot to mention is that the dough can be pushed into so many directions. You can add an egg or two and sugar to make the bread more cakelike; you can add soft butter to make it moist; you can add spices, nuts, dried fruits. You can experiment with different kinds of flour. You can form it into a loaf, rolls, flat bread, or use it as a pizza crust. You can glaze it with water, milk, or beaten eggs before and during baking. And so on. Simply make sure you give it enough time to rise, and to not knead all the fluffy bubbliness out of it again once it has risen.
In fact, I have another loaf rising at the moment, which I’ll bake tonight.
That’s all!

xoxo,
F.

Whole Wheat Yeast Bread

12 Feb

Hello!

I have a confession to make: I don’t get no-knead bread. I’ve made it only once, and found it basically tasteless. Another confession: I also don’t get people’s problems with yeast dough. I make it all the time for pizza, rolls, bread, etc., and while some doughs turn out better than others, it’s never a big issue. Maybe it’s a cultural thing; Americans naturally have different expectations towards bread than Europeans, so they would probably find this bread I made last night not fluffy and light enough. Or maybe it’s just that my demands aren’t that high when it comes to homemade bread, because deep down I know that in my tiny oven I’ll never be able to make ‘real’ bread that rivals that from our bakery.
Anyways. We were out of bread and in no mood to go to the store again. This is what I made. This time I used a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, and a mix of milk and water, but this varies depending on what I have at hand or feel like. I wouldn’t use milk in a pizza dough, for example. The rising time I give the dough also varies, depending on how much time and patience I have. I’d always give a loaf of bread more time than a flat pizza, naturally.

Ingredients:
makes one loaf

approx. 2 cups warm fluid (half milk, half water)

1 packet dry yeast (approx. 2 1/2 tsps.)
1 lb flour (half whole wheat, half all-purpose)
1 tsp. salt

3 tbsps. olive oil

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and yeast. Stir well. Add olive oil and half of the milk-water mix. Stir a little with your hands, so the flour falls into the fluid and a dough begins to form. Start kneading; add fluid consecutively, and knead until you have a smooth, homogeneous ball of dough (you might not need all the fluid, or a little more). Leave it in the bowl, cover with a dishcloth, and let sit until risen (I’d say 2 hours for a bread, or more).

When the dough has risen and looks fluffy, take it out of the bowl, and stretch it into a rectangle. Form a roll that fits your loaf baking pan, and place it in it. Make sure you don’t overknead at this point. Again, let the loaf sit for a while, maybe one hour.

Preheat your oven to 400° F.
Cover the baking pan with aluminium foil (leave some room for rising), and bake for 20 mins. Remove the foil, and bake for another 20 mins. The loaf is done when knocking on it makes a hollow sound.
Take the loaf out of the pan, let cool, and eat. Enjoy!

There: snack time.

Goodbye, have a wonderful weekend!
xoxo, F.

My Day

5 Feb

Hello,

it is Friday, but:

I’m kind of sick. No recipe today. I just want to sleep, sleep, sleep, and drink more tea, tea, tea.

xoxo, F.